We spoke with The Curated Coffee founder, Raj Menon, about building a virtual marketplace where coffeeholics can buy coffee from independent and small-batch roasters. Raj works as a product development manager at a large IT firm and has used Bubble to build apps for his other startups. He decided to use Bubble to create The Curated Coffee because the no-code platform makes it easy to incorporate user feedback into the app’s design.
What problem does your company solve?
Raj Menon: The Curated Coffee, LLC is a virtual B2C self-service marketplace where our partners (independent and small-batch coffee roasters) showcase their best products for coffee lovers (whom we call coffeeholics), who then order the coffee from us. People need a get-to-know-you period before making any long-term commitment, so we provide affordable subscription plans that allow customers to get started with sample packs before choosing a specific brand of coffee. We hope that our service becomes a one-stop spot where everyone involved in this ecosystem--roasters, cafés, baristas and coffeeholics--can interact, talk about coffee, learn about different roasts, and make tasty brews at home, with our home brewing tips.
How does your app work?
Coffee sellers (roasters or coffee shops) join as a partner. Once they activate their accounts, they are free to manage their own products page in the marketplace. Coffee lovers sign up for our newsletter, subscribe to one of our subscription box plans, or buy coffee from the marketplace. At the moment, we are building a feedback system so that subscribers can leave reviews of the products that they have tried.
Tell us a little about your background and how you discovered no-code tools like Bubble.
I’m a developer who works as a product development manager at a large IT firm. Since 2011, I have dabbled in all kinds of projects and entrepreneurship ventures, which eventually led me to no-code development apps. If I recall correctly, I learned about Bubble from a fellow entrepreneur about 2 years ago. Ever since, I’ve been building apps for my startups. This is my third such app, and probably my best work yet.
Why did you build your app on Bubble?
Bubble allows you to get started with low development costs. I consider myself an advanced Bubble user. Many people with great ideas end up spending a lot of money on startup funds, like contracting developers. With Bubble, people are able to build new modules with practically no added cost, just the monthly subscription. This empowers us entrepreneurs to test our products in the market and iterate based on customer feedback. It is the perfect tool to blend customer feedback and product development at a low cost.
What has been your traction or success so far?
The Curated Coffee just entered its initial launch phase. Since creating this app's first version this past February, we have acquired 220+ Instagram followers, 100 sign-ups from potential customers, and 6 partnerships with coffee roasters/shops. For 3 months, this is pretty good traction. Now, the challenge is building a marketing campaign that drives sales, but the website itself is ready, working, and well received by users, which simply wouldn’t have happened without no-code tools. To help me out, my very supportive wife lends her design and marketing expertise to boost what I build on Bubble.
What are your next steps for your app?
This year, we plan to grow the site to a minimum of 100 paid subscribers, with around 10 key partnerships. In terms of the app, we’re hoping to have more interfaces and modules for customers. Ultimately, the goal is to mimic a real-life marketplace, where people can browse around, sample products, leave feedback, and hang out. Given our current growth, I expect that we will need to expand our footprint on Bubble’s platform by adding more resources. Needless to say, we are very optimistic.
Bubble is a leader in the no-code movement. Bubble offers a powerful point-and-click web editor and cloud hosting platform that allows users to build fully customizable web applications and workflows, ranging from simple prototypes to complex marketplaces, SaaS products, and more. Over 400,000 users are currently building and launching businesses on Bubble - many have gone on to participate in top accelerator programs, such as Y Combinator, and even raise $365M in venture funding. Bubble is more than just a product. We are a strong community of builders and entrepreneurs that are united by the belief that everyone should be able to create technology.